The primary cause of knee pain is osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint condition that causes the slippery surfaces of the joints to break down over time, most commonly as a result of age-related wear and tear. Osteoarthritis can also occur following joint injury or surgery. People who use their knees for heavy lifting, sports, dance or other activities that place considerable stress and strain on the joint are more likely to develop osteoarthritis and to develop it at an early age. Other possible causes of knee pain include trauma due to falls or car accidents, sports injuries, and obesity.
*Individual Results May Vary
Knee pain is commonly associated the joint swelling, local tenderness, stiffness in the joint, a reduced range of motion, and a “crunching” noise when the joint is moved. Some patients may experience weakness or instability in the joint.
Physical examination of the joint is the first step in evaluating knee pain so the most effective treatment can be provided. During the exam, passive and active range-of-motion exercises will be used to evaluate the strength and flexibility of the joint and to assess other related symptoms. Diagnostic imaging tests like x-ray or MRI scans will also probably be ordered to get a better look at the interior structures of the joint.
Today, there are several minimally-invasive options that can provide significant relief for knee pain without the need for invasive and complex joint replacement surgery. Many patients benefit from injections of pain medications and corticosteroids to control pain and inflammation in the joint, or with injections of synthetic fluid to lubricate the joint so movement doesn't cause pain. Stem cell therapy and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections are also useful in regenerating new, healthy joint tissue or in promoting better healing in the joint. Rest, application of ice and heat, and physical therapy may also be included as part of treatment to promote faster healing or to relieve symptoms.